Most of the ink drawings are series of horizontal lines that glimmer across the sheet like sunsets from an alien planet. The lines are sharp, but on the absorbent paper the colors turn soft. The bands of color, while vivid, are most powerful as frames for the untouched white paper, which seems to burn like direct sunlight when divided and framed by the right combinations of yellow and fuchsia.
Occasionally, Rochmis makes the bands vertical, notably for “Coaster #1,” which suggests an airier version of one of Morris Louis’s “Veils.” A set of three “Flags” recalls 1960s artistic gambits. But, unlike Jasper Johns, Rochmis allows the white, blue and red (actually, a meld of red and pink) to dissolve, so that the roughly accurate flag in the first picture becomes, in the third, a jumble of white stars and stripes amid swirling blues and red-pinks.
Liquidity is the key to the artist’s other drawings, the ones on coated photographic paper. In these, the unabsorbed ink retains a gloss that suggests it’s still wet, and large areas of pigment cracked as they dried. The artist uses this technique to depict floral shapes, often in shades of purple. Both approaches are simple, yet executed with exceptional skill and rigor. Rochmis’s distillations of sunlight are suitably dazzling.
Through June 15 at Watergate Gallery, 2552 Virginia Ave. NW; 202-338-4488; www.watergategalleryframedesign.com
Like his earlier paintings, Teo Gonzalez’s new ones are built from thousands of cell-like structures, loosely rendered lozenges that might have a dot at the center. But the Spanish-bred Brooklynite’s style has subtly changed, his new show at Contemporary Wing announces. His latest paintings are mostly black and white, with subtle touches of blue, and are arranged to suggest pulsing lines of light. As Gonzalez acknowledges, his current inspiration is “the night sky, those images of deep space that we can witness, thanks to the most advanced telescopes.”
The show includes two smaller 2011 works, made when the artist still pursued an all-over style with a range of dominant colors. Although these pictures don’t seek to draw the eye in a particular direction, the more recent ones are keyed to bands of milky white, subtle blue or deep black. Gonzalez emphasizes these stripes in various ways. He might paint white dots on black, suggesting stars, but sometimes he instead places tiny black blobs atop a black background. The droplets are indistinguishable from a distance, yet add to the sense of gleaming intensity.
Gonzalez is not literally painting the intergalactic sky. He’s still using the same framework as in his earlier work, and the cells and dots are far more densely packed than stars in the actual heavens. But the artist’s recent pictures do have an added sense of depth and drama. They’re still as flat as 1960s color-field paintings, but with a newfound — and quite splendid — willingness to deceive their viewers into seeing a whole universe in a simple pattern